Physicians Form Group Promoting Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana

More than 50 doctors, including a former U.S. Surgeon General, have formed a group promoting the legalization and regulation of marijuana, The Washington Post reports. Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) endorses the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use.

The group’s founder and board president is David L. Nathan, an associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University. Honorary board members include former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders; H. Westley Clark, the former Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; Donald I. Abrams, Chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital; and Chris Beyrer, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and President of the International AIDS Society.

DFCR argues that marijuana is far less harmful for adults than alcohol and tobacco. “Cannabis can be harmful to minors, but prohibition doesn’t prevent children and teens from accessing the drug,” the group states on its website. DFCR also says the burden of marijuana prohibition “falls disproportionately upon communities of color and the nation’s poor.”

“You don’t have to be pro-marijuana to be opposed to its prohibition,” DFCR founder and board president David L. Nathan told the newspaper. He said his group does not advocate using marijuana. He acknowledged that about 9 percent of people who begin using marijuana as adults become dependent on the drug. He added heavy use can be especially harmful to the developing brains of teenagers. Nathan said the best way to manage marijuana’s risks is to regulate the drug.

Robert DuPont, the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told The Washington Post, “The idea that we cannot manage the health problems related to marijuana because it’s illegal, that doctors are somehow inhibited from dealing with marijuana use and marijuana problems, is completely wrong. The idea that legalizing is going to stop the illegal market is equally stupid.”

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    Jan Beauregard, PhD

    April 21, 2016 at 9:23 PM

    This is sad when physicians ignore the data – increased risk of psychosis, lack of motivation, poor grades, more mental health issues, more dysfunctional social relationships… just look at the increase in teen use in CO and the research on brain changes in adolescence. This reminds me of the doctors years ago who got on television talking about the health benefits of smoking cigarettes.

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    Skip Sviokla MD ABAM

    April 19, 2016 at 12:43 PM

    DCFR- you are ridiculous. More exposure to drugs by children, the more damage…
    Skip Sviokla MD ABAM

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    Marcus

    April 19, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making all drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them. We need to pull LE out of the drug biz & that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure – on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis, it is not the “great child protection act,” its actually the complete opposite. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all.

    “Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

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